Today's oil study is an egret. I finished it, photographed and realized the background color just killed the color of the egret. So I wiped it off and repainted the background with more oomph. Later today I'll post both images here so you can see what a difference the second background made.
Today I'm posting three oil studies of cardinals. I got up early and painted the first piece, liked the way it turned out so I painted another....and so on. I don't have time to put the 'buy now' buttons up yet - will try to get them done in a few hours. In the meantime, if you're interested in one of the cardinals, email me and I'll go by first-come-first-served. firstname.lastname@example.org
During last year's 75 for $75 project I painted a flying egret that I really liked. Today's oil study of flying swans was inspired by last year's study. I'd like to do a larger painting based on this piece - maybe for the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD in November.
Today's oil study is a Great Blue Heron. I keep painting heron hoping they'll start coming easier for me - but this guy took a long time to get it right. With heron and egret, the eye has to be just right.
Walt Horton Fine Art Gallery is one of the seven galleries that carry my work. The gallery is right next to Paderewski Fine Art - a great location in the Beaver Creek Plaza with the ice rink right outside the door and lots of upscale shops. (Beaver Creek is very near Vail on I-70 west of Denver). Larissa, manager of the gallery, tells me that the occasional bear wanders in to the Plaza to raid the trash cans! I'm not surprised as the Rockies come almost to the entrance of the Plaza.
These are some of the new pieces I just delivered to the gallery. Keeping the sluggish economy in mind, these are all smaller pieces. But if art sales are to the economy as a canary is to a mine, then I would say the economy has turned around as my sales have been really good.
The gallery-wrapped/unframed dogs are 8" x 8" and the framed pieces are all 7" x 7". I'll be dropping off another four 7" x 7" - all aspen paintings, to the gallery on my way back in Arizona next week.
I wish American Goldfinch would come to my feeder, but I only get the Lesser Goldfinch. When the Lesser are wearing their breeding plumage they're a bright yellow, but never quite as pretty as an American Goldfinch. I wonder if the Lesser Goldfinch feel inadequate?
166 - American Goldfinch
7" x 5" oil on board, unframed
$75 plus $6 shipping within the U.S. SOLD
(I think this one broke all records. 'Posted' to 'sold' took about 8 minutes.
I have an aversion to painting cute things but as with the ducklings I posted a few weeks ago - I couldn't resist painting this little bear cub. There are many bears in the area where I'm living for six weeks (Breckenridge, Colorado) and I see evidence of them in the form of overturned trashcans when I'm walking around Breck in the early morning hours.
Whatever possessed me to paint a parrot for today's oil study? The color! There aren't many excuses to use lime green and red when I paint a bird. This is a thick-billed parrot which were once native to the southern part of Arizona. Now their declining population is found in north west Mexico.
It's hard for me to believe, but I started blogging in 2008 with this:
This morning, a phone conversation with my artist friend, Victoria Schultz, convinced me that I should start a blog. Perhaps then, my friends won't groan when they see yet another email (with attachment) from me with the subject line, 'today's work attached'. When I get excited about something I'm working on, I like to share it while I'm still in the honeymoon stage of the painting. Now, instead of boring my artist friends with daily emails and large attachments, I will post them here. I am now a blogger.
I'd forgotten that Vikki Schultz inspired me to start blogging. This just reaffirms my belief that as artists, we're all in this together. Collectively, most artists are part of a giant pool that we can can dip into for ideas, courage or inspiration. Blogging is an important part of sharing the knowledge....and the best thing about blogging? It's free.
The beauty of blogspot blogs (google) is that they are linked together. At the top of my blog, you'll see 'NEXT BLOG'. If you click on this, it will take you to another blog, randomly. Bloggers aren't all painters....there are gardeners who blog about their cucumbers, Christians who blog about Jesus and sailors who document their single-handed journey around the world. But there are many artist bloggers - and I could easily spend hours clicking on 'next blog' to find fascinating work of another artist I've never heard of. On Carol Marine's blog I clicked on 'next blog' and this found a blog titled, Thoughts on Painting and Art. I love the first painting of fields - what a great composition! Clicking on 'next blog' again took me to Jennifer Bellinger's blog then to a daily painting blog by Craig Stephens - and so on. You have to watch it as surfing blogs will eat up an entire day but it is a fun way of finding the work of other artists. As I said earlier, we are all part of a giant pool. You only need to dip into it for ideas or inspiration.
The inspiration for my 75 for $75 project came from other artist's blogs. Duane Keiser gets the credit for starting the 'painting a day' blog idea which spread like wildfire. Now there are artists like Carol Marine undeniably the Painting-a-Day Queen who not only makes a great living on her daily paintings, but also is in great demand as a workshop instructor. A little more than a year ago, my son sent me a link to Marc Hanson's blog and daily painting project which inspired me to do my 75 for $75 project.
I've been earning my living - self supporting (no partner/spouse contributing a paycheck) as an artist for about 25 years. There are times it has been difficult. In fact since the economy went into the ditch it has often been difficult, but I have survived, thanks, in part, to blogging. I taught a one day workshop in June titled, 'Earning Your Living as an Artist' where I pointed out that you must be computer savvy to survive as an artist. I spent some time talking about blogging. People asked, "how do you get the word out about your blog"? Just the act of blogging will begin to get the word out as blogs are linked - but self-advertising by handing out your business card which points to your blog will bring customers and other artists to your blog. When I give someone my business card I say, 'I blog almost daily - there's always new work being posted'. A couple from Sedona took the workshop and are already actively blogging. Check it out - they've got some great work!
My galleries also benefit by my blogging. When I ship work out to a gallery I often post the images here. As I only sell the little 5" x 7" oil studies on my blog, clients can contact one of my galleries (there's a list on the right side of this page) if they would like a larger painting.
p.s. Put a counter on your blog so you can see how many are finding it. It's a good way of measuring the success of your newsletter or other types of advertising.
Another chickadee!! I know - I have painted quite a few lately but I've had lots of requests for the cute little guys so I'm trying to catch up. This oil study was supposed to be yesterday's post but I didn't get it finished on time. Don't miss my other post for today - a barn owl.
I did this little Barn Owl oil study this morning - and will try to get a chickadee study done later today. Lots of requests for both species! This was done on my own gessoed board rather than Ampersand. I'm preferring my own boards for these little studies...but still prefer Ampersand for larger pieces. If you scroll down a few posts, I've explained how I make my own gessoed boards.
I don't think I said that all of the pieces for my 75/75 project would be birds. I'm living in Breckenridge, Colorado for the month of July as Artist-in-Residence and the town is literally crawling with red fox. They're everywhere! The goal for my 75 for $75 oil studies is to become better at what I paint and I always find fox to be a struggle - so perhaps a few little fox studies will help me to understand them better.
Today's oil study is a black-headed grosbeak. I see lots of them out my studio window in Northern Arizona - especially when the plums are ripe. As I've been in Colorado since late June, I didn't get any of this year's plums...and my neighbors report seeing a young black bear in the neighborhood, so perhaps he ate all the plums. I hope he left a few for the grosbeak.
This oil study is done on 1/8" gessoed untempered masonite. My brother-in-law buys 8' x 10' sheets and cuts them to order for me. I then sand the edges and lightly sand the painting surface before giving it two coats of gesso, allowing 24 hours to dry between coats. I thin the gesso with water so it is fairly thin....slightly than milk. I use a small foam roller to apply the gesso to the board. Once the board has two coats of gesso and is completely dry, it is ready to use. I don't sand the gessoed board before painting.
I've had lots of temptations that take me away from the easel since I've been artist-in-residence in downtown Breckenridge, Colorado....which is why I've not been painting for my 75 for $75 recently.
The Breckenridge Arts District, of which the Tin Shop (my studio/residence) is part of, includes a ceramics studio right across the street. Oh...what a temptation as my second love (to painting) is working on the potter's wheel. I am the bowl queen. My friends and family have cupboards full of my bowls so perhaps I'll have to start making coffee mugs instead...or teapots!
But I find that I miss my daily oil study. Painting a little 5" x 7" first thing in the morning loosens me up for the day....so first thing this morning, I painted this little chickadee. Hope you like it.
Last night was the opening for the exhibit of the plein air paintings of 15 artists at the Art & Wildlife Celebration in Breckenridge. I painted five pieces over the last three days and received Best of Show for my painting, 'The Sky is Falling'.
The Sky is Falling
10" x 8" oil on panel
Best of Show - Art & Wildflower Celebration
painted on location at the Illinois Creek Trail, Wakefield Meadow SOLD
Both pieces here were painted yesterday.
8" x 8" oil on board
Painted on location July 10, 2011 at the Illinois Creek Trail, Wakefield Meadows
The last few days painting in Breckenridge have been glorious. I've been practically knee-deep in wildflowers while painting under fabulous light. We've had threatening skies and a little rain but for me, this is perfect weather to paint plein air. I will paint outside more often!
My plein air piece is an 10" x 8" oil on board painted in the Golden Horseshoe open space in Breckenridge. The red trees are symbolic of the pine beetle infestation in the Rocky Mountains where many of the peaks are no longer green, but the red/purple/brown of dead trees. But baby lodge pole pines are growing under the dead ones and huge tracts of aspen are popping up everywhere. The wild flowers are also glorious now that they are getting more sun.
All the paintings produced in the three day Art and Wildflower Celebration will be shown (and sold) at the Carter Museum in Breckenridge tomorrow from 5:00 - 7:30 pm. Prior to that they can be seen at the Fuqua Stables on E. Washington in Breck. For more information on the exhibit and sale go to www.cdlt.org
Today is the first day of the Art & Wildflower Celebration, presented by the Continental Divide Land Trust in Breckenridge, Colorado. Fifteen of us painted on the Illinois Trail - absolutely gorgeous landscape with lots of wildflowers in bloom. What a life!
Lupine & Cinquefoil on the Illinois Trail
10" x 8" oil on panel
This one of two paintings I did this morning. It is available for sale at the Fuqua Stables, right across from the Tin Shop (where I am artist-in-residence) in Breckenridge.
Today's post is really yesterday's painting. I think these might be little mallard ducklings. I'm working on a cardinal that I hope to post in an hour or two - a red bird being appropriate for the 4th of July!
This is the first chickadee I've done for this year's 75 for $75 project. I resist painting them as they're difficult to get quite right. There has to be a happy balance of accuracy and cuteness with a chickadee!
I've been on the road for the past week, living out of a suitcase, but now I'm unpacked and set up in The Tin Shop (see previous blog) and have spent the day painting. I must admit I cheated on today's 75 for $75 and tweaked a piece I did a few weeks back.